What is The Dinner Party Project? It all began when founder, Dana Marie Roquemore, returned home to Orlando from a wanderlust adventure across the globe. Being a native of the City Beautiful, it was both a relief and a bit of a letdown returning back to the familiarity and reality of Central Florida. Not one to stay idle for long, however, Dana began the process of reintegrating herself back into the community she loved.
With so many opportunities and possibilities at hand—yet no job igniting the fiery passion that she craved—Dana, as most of us have, found herself at a crossroads. When questioned by a friend about what excited her the most about life, two things came to mind: her love of food and her love for people.
Thinking on that, Dana began to realize that she knew a lot of people, but, for the most part, didn’t know a lot of people really well. What are their stories? Where did they grow up? What makes them who they are?
During that time she made the decision to get to know the people in her life a little better. To begin, she decided to throw the names of everyone she knew into a “lottery” of sorts. From there, she drew seven names to join her around the dinner table at her home. Eight, the perfect number for an intimate gathering; not too small to where it’s awkward, and not too big where it’s overwhelming and your voice gets lost in the conversation.
It began with friends and family and went from there. Friends began inviting friends, likewise, family started inviting friends. An Instagram was formed, and as we all know, the rest is history. Dana has been known to say, “If I could throw dinner parties for a living, I would.” And now the dream is a reality.
I was lucky enough to attend The Dinner Party Project (TDPP) earlier this month. It was a special dinner with just bloggers which made it even more special. There was a group of 12 bloggers from the Central Florida area and it was amazing! The dinner was hosted by Kristen Manieri of The Orlando Date Night Guide and all the food came from Chef Mike Garcia.
We started the evening with a little mingling away from the table. We drank Blackberry + Lemon Gin and Tonics while noshing on Chared Corn and Jalapeno Hush Puppies with Green Goddess Dress. I must say this was a GREAT way to start the evening.
After a little while we moved to the table for dinner. The tablescape was done by none other than fellow TDPP attendee and crafter extraordinaire Sarah Hearts. It was so beautiful, yet so simple. She even broke out her treasured gold flatware from West Elm for the occasion.
The rest of the night was filled with amazing food and great conversation. We had Zucchini Soup with radish, yellow squash & turnips, tomato salad with micro greens, fennel, blue cheese, & buttermilk vinaigrette, open ravioli of chicken with swiss chard, carrots, & snow peas, and finally strawberry sponge cake (gluten free) and Barnie’s coffee. Holy cow! Everything that came out was just as amazing as the item before.
I loved getting to know some of my fellow Orlando bloggers while enjoying an amazing meal. TDPP really is one of the coolest things to happen in Orlando and I will definitely be back. If you are interested in attending yourself, make sure to go to their website and get on the list.